Volume 9 Issue 2 ( June 2022 )


Causes, Mechanisms and Outcomes of Environmental Degradation in Bangladesh: a Study in Sylhet

Mohammad Jahirul Hoque


Along with the entire world, environmental degradation is a topical issue for Bangladesh. This paper investigates the process of environmental degradation as an outcome of the destruction of forests by state and non-state actors in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. Sylhet is home of the thirty-seven indigenous communities as well as mainstream Bengalis. Indigenous people (and Bengalis) rely on forests and the environment for their survival and livelihood to some extent. This study focuses on the Khasi people, as their lifestyles and livelihoods are more closely linked to environmental resources than other indigenous populations. This study takes an exploratory approach to social research and the conceptual framework of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) to investigate the role of different mechanisms behind environmental degradation. It reviews the existing literature and published and unpublished reports, alongside fieldwork data collected through observation of the circumstances and interviews with stakeholders, help to explain the process of environmental degradation, its causes, mechanisms, and outcomes. The current state of environmental degradation in Sylhet, according to this study, is neither shaped by pollution nor naturally produced environmental changes. Rather, the Sylhet region's inherent dimension of environmental degradation might be conceptualized as the result of tree removal by various entities. This study shows that the government's (and the world's) reforestation and afforestation initiatives will not help the Sylhet region's environmental predicament unless the region's environmentally harmful actions by various state and non-state entities are immediately stopped.

Keywords: environmental degradation; deforestation; forest degradation; the Khasi people; Bangladesh